Mexico’s COVID-19 contingency plan: three key phases to fight the coronavirus outbreak

Mexico’s government, through the Health Ministry and the General Direction of Epidemiology, has determined three phases of contingency for the COVID-19 pandemic

Mexico’s COVID-19 contingency plan: three key phases to fight the coronavirus outbreak
COVID-19 has been declared as a pandemic – Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP
English 14/03/2020 13:41 Teresa Moreno Mexico City Actualizada 14:02

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So far, Mexico’s government, through the Health Ministry and the General Direction of Epidemiology, has determined three phases of contingency for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first phase, which is the one Mexico is currently at until March 14, is that of Viral Import.

Phase 1 means that there are tens of confirmed cases in the country and that they are imported, that is, that those who have been infected traveled abroad and caught the disease outside Mexico.

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At this point, it is possible to detect the origin of the infections and there are no strict restrictions for greeting people, public events in closed or open spaces. Likewise, authorities disseminate information at schools and universities as well as in the workplace.

The second phase is that of Community Transmission, which is the one present in countries like Spain. In this phase, the cases are counted by hundreds and the origin of infections is lost. It basically means that people transmit the disease to each other, regardless of whether they have traveled abroad.
 

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This phase could arrive between 40 and 50 days after the registration of the first case. Mexican health authorities have said that the country could reach this phase by late March. In this phase, measures are toughened: it is best to avoid kisses and hugs for greetings, massive events are canceled both in open and closed spaces like theater, cinemas, parks, concerts, stadiums, squares, and beaches.

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There are also sanitary filters at schools and the workplace to check those who enter and verify they do not show any respiratory disease symptoms.

The third phase is that of an epidemic, which could be reached between two and three weeks after phase 2, and cases would be counted by thousands.

In the worst scenario contemplated by the Health Ministry for this phase, COVID-19 would infect between 0.5% and 1% of the total population in Mexico, which could represent up to 1.2 million people; however, this would imply that no control measures had been implemented and no infected person had received the corresponding medical care.

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In the current situation, it is calculated that between 175,000 and 300,000 people could get infected. From them, only the minority would need intensive care hospitalization and over 70% of those infected could present no symptoms, which means they would only be carriers.

Phase 3 measures include no kissing and hugging as well as canceling public events. In addition, schools and workplaces with active outbreaks would have no activities to prevent further infection.

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